Bring Slippers to School04 Feb 2007
Andrea pointed out an article in Die Zeit on a journalist's experience with his daughter's first grade class in Berlin, and how much has changed since was in first grade. I could identify a lot with Christopher's experience. He also is learning letters phonetically, incorrect spelling is ignored for now, and he also has slippers at school. Unlike in the article, his class has a number (1c) not a name and he has to practice writing block letters like in the old days. His school has a 'family class' with grades 1-4 in one room, but he's in a traditional class.
I find learning reading phonetically to be fascinating. For example, their newest letter is 'H', which is called "huh" (whisphered) and not "aitch" (or "haw" as it would be in German). They also learn gestures for each letter to associate with the sound. For 'H' it is putting both hands in front of your mouth (as if you were blowing on your hands on a cold day). One day he and the neighbor girl were spelling words with gestures, and it looked like they were hula dancing. The phonetic system probably works only because the phonetics in German are consistent. I can't imagine learning English this way.